Simonetta Cattaneo, said to be the model for some of Sandro Botticelli’s finest paintings, including the Birth of Venus, was wed to Marco Vespucci in 1469. This story follows her tragically short life as she is wooed by the promise of life in artistic, learned Florence, befriended by the mighty Medici family, and receives the mixed blessing of being declared the most beautiful woman in Florence. Her story as told by Palombo (The Violinist of Venice) is a sad one, but also strikingly feminist as she fights to be acknowledged for her sharp mind and education, and scorns the attention paid to her because of her fair face. Ironically, it is an artist who sees past her looks to the curious and thoughtful woman within, and through that relationship with him she is immortalized in some of the most treasured works of the Renaissance. Though little is known of her real life, this story gathers what scraps of fact exist to build a compelling narrative that is difficult to put down. (Apr.)
Reviewed on: 02/20/2017 Release date: 04/25/2017 Genre: Fiction
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